Moving From Photoshop to GIMP

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I upgraded to macOS Catalina last week, and post upgrade all was well, with the exception of Photoshop. I went to see if there was an update, I needed. No! If I want to use Photoshop I need to pay for PhotoShop CC, which costs £10 a month! The fact my friends stateside can get it for $10 a month annoys me even more.


I’ve spent years, shouting about how great Photoshop is, and when people were struggling with it I encouraged them to persevere, because when you got used to is it was second to none. Well as is usually the case as soon as a company/product gets to the top of the food chain, they just assume they can do and charge what the hell they like, and treat their customers pretty shabbily because ‘Hey who cares about one less customer’!

So I’m switching to GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) Which is FREE and pretty awesome. This switch has been much the same as switching form Windows to macOS, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be, and now I wish I’d done it a long time ago.

The point of this post is to, highlight all the things I used to do in Photoshop, that I needed to work out how to do in GIMP, so that with any luck this ‘one less customer’ can persuade many more to follow.

I’ll keep updating this with new things as I work them out.

GIMP Open New File the Same Dimensions as the Clipboard Image

I work with a lot of screen shots and desktop images, Photoshop automatically opened a new image with the correct dimensions that matched what I’d copied to the clipboard. GIMP Does this much better, Simply select Edit > Paste as > New Image.

Paste as new image

This sets the correct canvas size, and puts the clipboard Images into it, which saves me pasting it in, which I’d have to do in Photoshop 🙂

GIMP Set ALL New File’s with Transparent Background

Out of the box GIMP sets the background colour (or fill with option) to background colour, as does Photoshop, but with Photoshop once you have changed it to transparent background it stops that way, GIMP does not. You need to set ‘Transparency’ as the default option. Preferences > Default Image > Fill with > Set to ‘Transparency’.

GIMP New File Options

GIMP Drawing Arrows:Option 1 (Arrow Brush)

I need to do this a lot when doing walkthroughs and tutorials etc, out of the box GIMP does not do this at all! What you need to do is download arrow_slackermedia then extract it to the following folder you will need to create the Arrow Brushes Folder

\Applications\\Contents\Resources\share\gimp\2.0\brushes\Arrow Brushes

GIMP Arrow Brush Folder Usage

You can then use the Arrow Brush, change the direction by changing the ‘Angle’ in the brush tool, and set the size accordingly. 

GIMP Drawing Arrows:Option 2 (Arrow Tool

I need to do this a lot when doing walkthroughs and tutorials etc, out of the box GIMP does not do this at all! What you need to do is download this file, then extract it to;


GIMP Scripts Directory

Restart GIMP, then you will have an ‘Arrow Tool’. To use it you use the paths tool, set a start point (where the arrow head will be) and an end point;

Path Tool GIMP

Then Tools > Arrow-set-size > OK.

I’ll keep updating this……

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Author: PeteLong

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  1. Thanks for the usefull tips about Gimp. I was in the same situation already a few months ago. Never liked the idea of Adobe’s monthly payments. So I was also searching for alternatives. Did you ever take a look at the company Affinity? They have great tools for really fair price. So I switched to Affinity Photo and also Affinity Designer (as replacement for Adboe Illustrator).

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    • Hi Patrick, I did not though for only 50 quid it looks like a good alternative!


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  2. What you can do is rather than paying for Photoshop at £10 a month is to pay for a year in one go from Amazon, its £119.99 at the minute but when black friday is on or sometimes over Christmas it drops to £89.99 or sometimes even £74.99 making it the equivalent of £7.50 or £6.25 a month.

    Course you could just stick with GIMP and pay nothing instead 😉 I need Photoshop for my photography and that’s the cheapest way I’ve found of paying for it.

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